Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Drum Carding...."

I began carding some dyed Icelandic/Merino lambs wool on Sunday, completing all of it yesterday. The lambs wool is from "Gloria", a sheep on Dumgoyne Farm.

The 2 piles of washed/dyed lambs wool with an unfinished blended batt.

The batt is about 6" wide when it comes off of the drum.

The fiber is carded 2-3 times before it is a "finished" batt. This one was blended twice. I was processing each batt 3 times for this blend. The batt is "tore" into strips, opened up, then re-carded.

The washed/dyed fleece along with some finished batts. Don couldn't resist taking this photo after seeing how brightly the sun was shining n the front windows.

I am now tearing the batts into long "zig-zag" chains, pre-drafting the wool, and rolling the "roving" (using that term loosely) into "bumps". Spinning from these "bumps" will make the wool easier for me to spin. After this step, I will weigh all of it and see how many ounces I have. I think I will be spinning a "novelty" yarn with it. It has little pure color nubs in it, which I think it will make a nice texture when knit.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"A Few Fiber Things....."

Our next door neighbor Rob likes to wear flip flops when the weather permits (read: dry, but still cold). To help keep his feet warm, he'd wear regular socks and push the material back between his toes in order to get them on. I decided to knit him a pair of "thong socks". I used Cascade cotton and elastic sock yarn, which gives them a lot of spring.......perhaps they will massage his feet while wearing them? ;)

I have wanted to knit something for Don's cousin Deblyn, whom you may recall, had stayed with us while taking a class on Thai massage a few summers ago. I finally decided upon a "Lucy Bag", using earth tones with some brighter accent colors. The yarn used was Cascade 220, a yarn that I like and have used many times when knitting a piece to be felted.

This is the pre-felting photo......

And this, is the finished bag after the felting process. Felting is achieved by washing the wool piece in hot water, while using heavy agitation. I put the piece in a zippered pillow case and add a couple of small throw rugs into the washer to get the agitation desired. The piece is washed/agitated until all of the knitted stitches shrink together and are no longer discernible, which means checking on the washing process frequently. I was happy with the results.

A close up of the bag. In my opinion, felting softens colors and edges, creating a "muted blending", if you will, allowing the piece to attain a "oneness". Any thoughts on this? :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Red River Photos, Grand Forks, ND...."

Maniphone and Jonathan sent these first 3 photos a few weeks ago. Grand Forks, North Dakota was being pro-active in preparing for any Spring floods. The city decided to add 2' of clay to the top of the dike which protects the city from the Red River overflow. Henry is shown in this photo watching the big earth moving equipment.

A view from the river side.....

We did not realize until seeing this photo, just how close Maniphone and Jonathan's house was to the Red River!! This was taken from their backyard!

Maniphone forwarded these photos of the Red Rivers daily progression from Monday through Wednesday of this week. The monument was erected in memory of the 1997 flooding of Grand Forks. The top horizontal bar on the memorial is the height the river reached/crested. Maniphone told me the dikes are higher than that line.

Expectations are of it to continue to rise. Grand Forks did have colder weather with snow, so hopefully, that will help slow the Spring melt and allow the river to stabilize.

Jonathan sent this photo of Thursday level, just a few minutes ago. I thought I might as well add it to the blog, eh?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Sunday continued......"

Somehow, I overlooked this photo yesterday. This shows Don in position, although the sides will be lower when attached.

Andy and Benjamin stopped by to chat with Lonny, Don, and me, after their run.

"All this running has made me a little sleepy".

Andy and Benjamin........

"I know to look directly at the camera".........

"Are you talking to me or just about me again?"

"Hello Copper! Now stay still so I can grab that ear........"

Small, medium, and large........

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Recumbent Bike and Trike......"

Sunday afternoon, Don worked again with setting up his "body sock" on his 2 wheeled recumbent bike. (you can see the back frame on the rear of his bike)

Lonny came over to carry a 50# bag of laying mash for the chickens and a bale of wood shavings from our car to the chicken coop area for me. I was being a baby and didn't want to put the extra weight/pressure on my knees (both the replacement and the "bad" knee), so he was kind enough to do it for me.

Don had his trike out as well (planning to go for a ride a little later in the afternoon) and suggested to Lonny that he take a test ride on it. Unfortunately, Lonny's legs are a bit too long for the trike (and it is not easy to adjust that component), but he was able to cruise up and down the street somewhat satisfactorily.

In my opinion....a good shot of Lonny (I took the photo). :)

Sunday's job was to attach the Velcro tape to the fairing (windshield), which in turn, attaches to the Velcro that is sewn on the front of the body sock. In this photo, Don is getting the body sock in position so that he could pull it forward to see exactly where/how the Velcro should be attached on the fairing.

Unfortunately, it is mostly guesswork, since no instructions were included. Photos of how it is to look, yes, but nothing definite in where and how it is fully attached, etc.

An example of the attached body sock.......

In this photo, you can barely see the slit where Don's head will emerge from the body sock. It also has a zipper which will allow him to snug it up closer to his neck.

The body sock will be very taunt when attached. Don achieved his goal of attaching the Velcro on the fairing, but it needed to "set" for at least 24 hours, so the final installment of the body sock will take place (I'm "assuming") this coming weekend. Of course, it WILL be documented. ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Vernal Equinox continued....."

Laura enjoying a bottle of hard cider and a Stella Artois Beer for me. I had never had Stella until our Scotland trip.....ahhhhh the fond memories. ;)

Chatting, eating, and drinking.....what could be better? OH! The COMPANY!!! :)
Laura, dog True, me, Rob, and Andy.....

A "yes, I can sit nicely for my photo to be taken" shot.....

Rob philosophizing? :)

Gary, "The Fire Caretaker". He did a fantastic job.

We had a very enjoyable time just plain relaxing. That is Kuma behind me. He and True enjoyed all the attention they received, too.

Taken through the heat of the fire.......

It took many hours for the fire to burn down. Gary said in an email yesterday that he was outside until after midnight, sitting in the snow (small flakes started coming down as we left), watching the fire burn down.

Gary also broke out cigars. Horrid things in my opinion, but each to their own, eh? Andy "enjoyed" his for a VERY long time.......bringing his normal frugality to it, and "making it last". ;)

Thus ends my Vernal Equinox documentary. :) I hope everyone had as an enjoyable one as we did. WELCOME SPRING!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

"The Vernal Equinox Bonfire....."

Rob's sister, Laura, and her husband Gary, invited us out for a Vernal Equinox bonfire. They have a beautiful home, set upon a number of acres outside of Verona, WI. We arrived around 5:30 PM. I'm still not quite used to having daylight at that time. :) The weather was predicted to be warmer than it was, so a bonfire was eagerly anticipated.

Don walked down to the bonfire site with Rob, Andy, and Gary, while Laura and I readied the appetizers we'd brought. She had already laid out quite the spread of assorted cheese, sausage, and breads, so we added the broiled sausage/cheese mixture on party rye to the appetizer table when we walked out to the bonfire area.

Here is Gary lighting the bonfire.........

Rob, Andy, and Gary enjoying appetizers and "drink". :)

You can certainly tell a "well-laid" fire, eh? ;)

Cheers from the group! (Don, Laura, me, Rob, and Andy....Gary was the photographer)

More of our Vernal Equinox celebration tomorrow........

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Sheep Breeds......"

Jacqui has a variety of sheep breeds on her farm. Some are purebreds and others are crosses. I will label the photos as I "think" I have been told, although, I do hope that I am corrected so that I can go back and edit as needed.

The ewe in the photo is a Merino or Merino Cross. I believe this is correct because of the wool on top of the head and down the legs.

This little girl/guy (it could be a wether) is an Icelandic.

I may be mistaken, but think this is Clouseau, the Rambouillet Cross whose fleece I purchased from Jacqui when I last visited Dumgoyne Farm.

This is Mocha, whose lambs wool (his first shearing) I'm planning on spinning to knit a sweater.

Ewe's and wethers waiting their turn for shearing.........

The bags of fleece. Each fleece had to gathered, labeled, weighed, and recorded twice (1 for the the bag, 1 for the farm books). I took this photo as I was leaving. Jacqui and Bob had about 25 more sheep to shear.

I had a great time and want to thank Jacqui for inviting me to Dumgoyne farm to experience once again the thrill of watching sheep being sheared. It has been many years since I had seen it done.......the late 1970's or early 1980's to be more precise, when we had sheep at our little 3 acre farmette, "The Wind in the Willows", outside of Niles, MI.